As the New Year hit, I couldn't have cared less, honestly. I was dreading it. New Years can always be a bit of a downer-- a goodbye to the previous year and an exhaustive list of expectations as to what the year ahead should be. I didn't expect it to solve anything so I was happy to let it come and go.
But as I sit here with Covid (more to come on that later), giving myself the time I didn't allow in December to reflect, I'm actually crazy excited about it. I know the next few months are going to be more of the same, a slow shedding of a sticky and unwilling 2020. But, to certain degrees, I know personally what's on the other side of this and I'm ready to watch the show of how it all magically comes together.
I truly believe the year will end inspired. I see A LOT more fun coming in this year. More opportunities. Changed people. We'll take less for granted, I hope. And personally, I feel like I'm living my life, comfortably in my skin for the first time... ever?
But, 2020 was a TEACHER. Truly, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. While it felt like a slow death from drowning in a sea of continuous disappointment...
...going back through my old photos, there was soooo much we did, finished, accomplished-- so much joy to be had! It didn't feel like it maybe because I was unwilling to recognize it? But there was a lot of joy. And that's a huge lesson for me... to recognize joy even when you don't feel it.
'Instagram life' is often perceived as fake perfection because we only post the perfect moments, oftentimes to make ourselves look like we've got it all together. While it might be annoying and feel disingenuous to know there was only one minute of goodness in an incredibly bad hour, recognizing the good moment, I'm learning, is actually everything. Like the Solstice, it's about clinging to the glimmer of light when the world feels its darkest.
Anyway, I wanted to recap the goodness of the year for posterity... (And forgive me, I'm way too groggy to do this chronologically)...
At the start of the year, she was soooo tiny!!!
1) I got to hike a TON with my girl... Granted, those trips at the time, were exahausting and full of tears for so many reasons. But we got too adventure in this gorgeous state and I'm super grateful. Now I only see how much fun we had and all that my girl got to see... I remember the tears but they don't seem to matter.
2) We went EVERY kind of berry picking multiple times-- ha! (And if we brought anything home, that was solely because of me, thank you very much!) ;)
3) We went walking at Lake Junaluska regularly. Soooo grateful for that lake! On my worst days, I would throw everything in the car and pray a walk would make it better. Sometimes it was more frustrating than not but most of the times, it revitalized both of us. We also experienced many miracles this year I had forgotten about-- Rubes found lots of cool hidden rocks and one day I got a free bundle of flowers. Many times, I'd take off like a bat out of hell to 'walk it out' and it would end up raining. I would be drenched in downpours but afterwards, I saw countless rainbows. Doubles and quadruples, even. Things that aren't necessarily earth shaking but felt like divine earthquakes in spirit.
3) We went to the orchards 146 times... Man, I was so grateful for the outdoors this year. Sooo many things to do safely.
4) Grampie came to visit! Rubes LOVED hanging with her Grampie. It really was such a beautiful respite during such a brutal year.
5) Just a CRAP TON of photography... I started the year with some food photography challenges, got into some outdoor shoots once summer hit, took a lot of quarantine self portraits and new clients! It's overwhelming to think about... And I'm even more grateful that I keep improving.
6) I started my business & got to meet a ton of new and wonderful people! Not to mention, my first real studio! The enormity of this for me, having always wanted my own business, can't be summed up for me... and certainly not in this photo... But it's the day it all began.
7) Speaking my truth... This probably was the biggest lesson and gift of 2020. And it's really personal. I said things I thought were impossible to say. But things that were true and needed to be said. Things that will bring about a very different 2021.
8) Knowing my business was taking off and the amount of time I would need to balance sooo much, we had approximately one night to decorate for Christmas. But we did... I made hot chocolate and it turned out to be the perfect night. Christmas Day was super lovely, too!
9) Exploring every little town around us-- Dillsboro, Brevard, Knoxville and so many others... we found ways to get out of the house and find nooks and crannies that weren't super populated, etc. The picture on the right was after a long day adventuring in the car... We went for ice cream and I let her eat it on the way home. One of my all time favorite pictures of her. Hahaha! And it truly sums up the entirety of our summer.
10) I made a bunch of goofy character videos and got back into online improv and acting classes. It felt sooo good to get into it again. By the way... this feels like 15 years ago.
11) I ordered my weight in crystals and tarot decks and couldn't be happier about it!
12) We repainted the upstairs apartment. I just remember feeling insane at that time. But! We finished, gall dang! And my sis moved in around October.
13) Aunt Darci's Concerts-- My sis has done little facebook live concerts from her home for love offerings this year... My favorite part of it is always getting to watch Ruby dance. She's hilarious-- especially straight out of the bathtub! I have sooo many videos (which take an act of God to upload here), or I would.
14) If you're looking for a very real look at energetic ebbs and flows of 2020, here it is in hair. The best and worst-- all in the same year!! What was supposed to be highlights and a streak of blue hair turned into all blue hair... which then, turned into black and blue hair. This was pre-Covid. Very poor communication. Horrible experience. It felt devastating because I desperately needed to feel lighter. But... it's just hair. And it taught me a lot about loving myself regardless of what I look like.
Then, I got the BEST hair I've had in a looooong while from the lovely Mackenzie Coates at Studio 121. I kid you not... I FEEL like I host a daytime talk show. ;) I LOVE IT!!!
15) Not a surprise but I baked and cooked a ton. I made croissants, salsa, scones, bread, cookies and the most amazing marshmallows from Little Flower Baking Company. I can't recommend their baking book enough!!
16) We got to play in the rain and rain puddles A LOT with Ruby this summer. She LOVES it... And there's nothing like unadulterated childhood laughter to warm the cockles of a tired heart after a long, hot day.
17) We were sent a T-Rex dinosaur costume from Auntie Ipod and it still makes me giggle... Ruby was dinosaurs EVERYTHING this year. Holy crap...
18) I've dealt with A LOT of health issues. From two skin cancer surgeries, ER trips, blood pressure and the discovery of several small gallstones. In the past, I've been too scared to appreciate all that has happened to me and my health... But I have to say, for whatever reason-- maybe the teacher that is 2020, I'm feeling encouraged by my commitment to what the future will look like. Like, I can see the bigger picture and why everything happened the way that it did.
19) Christmas miracles... I won't go into the whole story but after praying a George Bailey-esque prayer, a lovely couple paid for our lunch about an hour later. And snow on Christmas... those felt like huge miracles that still make me a bit weepy.
20) Oh my God, the flour mites... That was insanity... But you know what? THEY GONE.
21) We got to see Aunt Celia and Uncle Jon on Fourth of July. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of this because I suck! They drove down from Rhode Island and we met at a park. It was a great day!
22) And speaking of holidays... Halloween was fun, too! We made cookies at home that were hideeeeeous. And the locals really did an exceptional job at making sure that the kids still had Halloween. They slid bags down slides and torpedoed candy into cars to make sure it was safe for all. And if you're wondering, after Christmas I asked Ruby what her favorite holiday is-- Christmas or Halloween. And she said Halloween. That kid is craaaazy for sugar. (ACK!!!)
And, truthfully, there were a ton more but I am officially tuckered out. And NOW look at my girl!! She's huge!! She looks four or five... a mother's heart just breaks with how much I love her. And that HAIR!!!
Our nation had an insane day yesterday and we're all still recovering from Covid here at home. Not a great start to the New Year. But I truly believe this year will hold a lot of fun and beauty. Not a single day is guaranteed to us-- I'm excited to make most of what I have, especially now. Take care, everyone!